Serena Williams says she ‘wants to grow her family’ as she announces retirement

·2-min read

Serena Williams has announced she is retiring from tennis to focus on growing her family.

The tennis star, 40, broke the news in US Vogue and revealed she will retire after the US Open in August.

She is married to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, with whom she shares their four-year-old daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.

Williams wrote that her daughter often says she wants to be a big sister, and as the youngest of five sisters, she feels this is “a moment I need to listen very carefully to”.

However, coming to the decision to retire has not been easy, the 23-time Grand Slam champion added.

“Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family,” she said. “I don’t think it’s fair. If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labour of expanding our family.

“Don’t get me wrong: I love being a woman and I loved every second of being pregnant with Olympia… But I’m turning 41 this month and something’s got to give.”

Elsewhere in the op-ed, Williams opened up about not liking to use the word “retirement”.

Alexis Olympia, daughter of Serena Williams and husband Alexis Ohanian congratulate Serena Williams after she won her final match against Jessica Pegula of USA at ASB Tennis Centre on January 12, 2020 (Getty Images)
Alexis Olympia, daughter of Serena Williams and husband Alexis Ohanian congratulate Serena Williams after she won her final match against Jessica Pegula of USA at ASB Tennis Centre on January 12, 2020 (Getty Images)

“It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me… Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is evolution,” she wrote.

“I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.

“A few years ago I quietly started Serena Ventures, a venture capital firm. Soon after that, I started a family. I want to grow that family.”

Alexis Ohanian, Olympia Ohanian Jr, and Serena Williams attend the 2021 AFI Fest: Closing Night Premiere Of Warner Bros.
Alexis Ohanian, Olympia Ohanian Jr, and Serena Williams attend the 2021 AFI Fest: Closing Night Premiere Of Warner Bros.

The sports great also wrote candidly about how painful the thought of retiring is to her, adding that it was the “hardest thing that I could ever imagine”.

“I hate it. I hate that I have to be at this crossroads… But these days, if I have to choose between building my tennis resume and building my family, I choose the latter.”

Williams has won seven Wimbledon titles, seven Australian Opens, six US opens and three French Opens. She also holds four Olympic gold medals.

Together with her older sister Venus Williams, they have dominated tennis for the large part of the last 25 years.